Is this sentence grammatically correct?

You are so offended.

(Since offended is adjective in past tense)

  • @snailboat I don't think it is an issue of whether offended is an adjective or not. I don't understand what you try to mean by adjectives don't have tense.
    – user24743
    Nov 27, 2015 at 5:23
  • @snailboat An adjective is not the only part of speech which can be modified by an intensifier. "So" has no bearing on whether offended is an adjective or not. "It's an adjective derived from a verb in past tense form" confused me. I would say "It's an adjective... in past participle form. I don't think offended is an adjective though.
    – user24743
    Nov 27, 2015 at 6:02
  • 2
    Let's see if we can't sort out the confusion in these comments. There's some good discussion of this in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (p.79). Here are three examples: ① It was broken deliberately, out of spite. [past participle form of verb] ② It didn't look broken to me. [past-participial adjective] ③ It was broken. [ambiguous] They write: "The verb broken in ① denotes an event, while the adjective broken in ② denotes a state – and the ambiguity of ③ lies precisely in the fact that it can be interpreted in either of these ways.
    – user230
    Nov 28, 2015 at 21:01
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    How does this apply to the question? Well, let me try to rewrite my first comment (now deleted) a bit more accurately. Offended is not an adjective in past tense form. Adjectives don't inflect for tense in English like they do in some other languages. Instead, it's an adjective derived from a verb form, specifically the past participial form of offend (which happens to look the same as the past tense form because offend is a regular verb).
    – user230
    Nov 28, 2015 at 21:04
  • 3
    And the most robust of CGEL's tests for distinginuishing participles from participial adjectives: "the possibility of replacing be by other complex-intransitive verbs such as seem and become. Thus we have This seemed disturbing, He became very distressed, He appeared drunk, but not *She seemed sleeping, *He became killed, *They appeared seen." You seem offended works just dandy. Nov 28, 2015 at 21:18

4 Answers 4


The sentence is clunky, but not actually wrong.

Offended is an adjective in the sentence - it describes the state of a thing, specifically "you".

so is being used to mean "to such an extent".

Another example would be

You are so offended that you are speechless.

It would be more usual to encounter this in a past tense:

You were so offended that you became speechless.

  • +1) for suggesting better sentences. You need to capitalize so in the third line and put a colon after be.
    – user24743
    Nov 27, 2015 at 7:18
  • @Rathony Balderdash! One place that a colon is not generally used is after the verb to be. This is because colons are generally used only to connect an introductory clause that could stand as one sentence to a phrase or sentence that adds more information.
    – user20792
    Nov 27, 2015 at 8:26
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    @NES - I understand Ranthoy's comment. For one, I'd include a colon here, simply because I employ the convention of putting colons before quote boxes on the Stack Exchange (this has nothing to do with the word be, except that be happens to be the last word on the line before the quote box). I also understand why he thinks so should be capitalized – but I also understand that Euan wanted to it to match the case of the original. In any event, there is little to be gained by arguing about what are essentially formatting choices in this answer.
    – J.R.
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:14

You are so offended.

The sentence is OK. The adverb "so" in the sense of "to such a great extent/very" is modifying the adjective "offended".


To my (American) ear, this sentence sounds both natural and grammatically incorrect.

Many Americans have adopted some so-called "Valley-girl" expressions. These expressions were a fad in the early 1980s. They were popularized by American movies and television shows that featured teenage girls from the San Fernando Valley. One feature of this slang was the use of "so" as an intensifier. This feature continues to be promoted in popular culture by The Simpsons. A typical half-hour episode of The Simpsons may use "so" as an intensifier 30 times.

Here is a typical use of "so" as an intensifier:

That is so tall!

In my opinion, when "so" is used as an intensifying adverb, it should be part of a sentence that describes a consequence of something having "so" much of an attribute. For example:

That is so tall that I can't see over it.

In the original poster's example:

You are so offended.

it is hard to just describe a consequence:

You are so offended that you don't get to talk to her.

Are you "so offended" because "you don't get to talk to her"? Or do you "not get to talk to her" because you are "so offended"? This can be clarified by explicitly saying what you were offended by:

You are so offended by sassy girls, that you don't get to talk to her.

  • 1
    So has actually been used as an intensifier for a thousand years, but it's probably useful for learners to know about the prescriptive rule against it, even if in practice people don't follow the rule (it isn't actually ungrammatical).
    – user230
    Nov 29, 2015 at 23:54

The sentence is grammatically incorrect. Offended is not an adjective in this sentence; hence, it would not be correct to use so right before offended. You can say you are so offensive if you were to describe someone.

  • 1
    I am not the downvoter, but your answer seems to be flawed as you suggested changing offended to offensive which will change the meaning completely.
    – user24743
    Nov 27, 2015 at 5:26
  • The sentence is clunky, but not actually wrong. Offended is an adjective in the sentence - it describes the state of a thing. In this case, "you".
    – Euan M
    Nov 27, 2015 at 5:48

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